Connecting man to man to God
For week of May 27, 2012
Issue 409

The weekly newsletter of Path Of Life Ministries.
Our mission is to lead men to Jesus Christ and provide opportunity for Christian men to grow in their faith and minister to others. 

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Love each other like the members of your family. Be the best at showing honor to each other.”
- Romans 12:10 (CEB)

True greatness is found in simple surrender to God's plan for our lives.”
- Jim Cymbala

On the heels of Gallup’s assessment of the religiosity by state, American Bible Society is releasing in-depth findings from its State of the Bible survey (, which details Americans’ beliefs about the Bible, its role in society, its presence in US homes and more.

The annual State of the Bible 2012 survey, conducted by Barna Group on behalf of American Bible Society, found that:

* 47% of American adults believe the Bible has too little influence in society today; only 16% believe it has too much influence, with the remaining adults expressing neutral opinions
* 55% read the Bible to be closer to God, down 9% (from 64%) in 2011
* 79% believe they are knowledgeable about the Bible but 54% were unable to correctly identify the first five books of the Bible
* 46% believe the Bible, the Koran and the Book of Mormon are different expressions of the same spiritual truths, 46% disagree
* On average, 85% of U.S. households own a Bible; the average number of Bibles per household is 4.3
* 36% of Americans read the Bible less than once a year or never while 33% read the Bible once a week or more
* Generational patterns emerged where younger adults are less likely to perceive the Bible as relevant and useful when compared with older adults.
* 62% of adults age 66 and older believe the Bible contains everything a person needs to know about living a meaningful life, dropping to 54% among boomers (age 47 to 65), 44% among those age 28 to 46, and dropping even further to 34% for those age 18 to 27.... Read this in full at

by Mark Ellis
Some will remember the homespun, conservative ABC radio commentator Paul Harvey. Millions of Americans listened to his news and commentary broadcast over 1,200 radio stations nationwide during his lengthy career.

In one famous broadcast, first delivered April 3, 1965, he considered how the devil might undermine the United States over time, using a subtle and not-so-subtle, yet diabolical strategy.

"If I were the devil, if I were the Prince of Darkness, I would want to engulf the whole world in darkness," Harvey began, "and I would have a third of its real estate and three-fourths of its population, but I wouldn't be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree, thee, so I would set about however necessary to take over the United States."

Harvey predicted the devil would begin by undermining religious institutions. "I'd subvert the churches first. I'd begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I'd whisper to you as I whispered to Eve, 'Do as you please.'"

"To the young I would whisper that the Bible is a myth. I would convince them that man created God, instead of the other way around. I would confide that what is bad is good and what is good is 'square.'" .... Read this in full at

People who attend religious services regularly are less likely than others in this country to develop diabetes or high blood pressure, a new study suggests, adding a Canadian dimension to the growing but contentious body of research linking faith and good health.... Read this in full at

Clare De Graaf
I’ve had it! Our marriage is a sham. I really believe it would be better for the kids to not be exposed to the constant tension in our home. I just want to be done with it.”

I’m guessing that you’ve also heard these pain-filled words from a family member or friend and found yourself at a loss as to what to say. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be passing to you some ideas others and I have used to help our friends make wiser and more biblical choices.

Setting aside for a few minutes what the Bible has to say about divorce, and who’s to blame for the disintegration of the marriage. Here’s my response to this statement; “I just want to be done with it (or her, in this case) and move on.”

I know what they mean when they say that, because whether they are the primary cause of the divorce or their spouse is, the pain, the cost, the sleepless nights, the emotional rollercoaster and relational limbo they find themselves in often just becomes too much. They no longer have any hope that the relationship can be put back together again and so they just want “to be done with it”. But, here’s the “rest of the story” I want them to hear.... Read this in full at

by Eric Metaxas
Is there anything wrong with a little mindless entertainment? Well, maybe not, but too many of us are engaging in a lot more than just a little of it.

Over the first weekend in May, “The Avengers” grossed more than $200 million at the box office — a record. I was responsible for some of the take because my daughter wanted to see it, and I wanted to spend time with my daughter, so I went with her.

For over two hours I stared at the screen and saw, well, nothing. I left the theater not knowing what to make of what I had just watched. There was nothing particularly offensive about the film. Nor were there any ideas that I needed to discuss with my daughter afterward.

In fact, there were no ideas at all — the phrase that comes to mind is “mindless spectacle.” I am not saying that it wasn’t entertaining. It was, in a “popcorn movie” sort of way.

But just while there are times when munching on popcorn is okay, no one puts popcorn at the base of their food pyramid. Likewise, while the occasional “popcorn movie” is okay as an occasional diversion, a steady diet of nothing but mindless entertainment is not good for us.... Read this in full at

* Amazing Grace (2007, PG)
* Chariots of Fire (1981, PG)
* A Man for All Seasons (1966, G)
* Shadowlands (1985 version, Not Rated; 1993 version, PG.)
* Sergeant York (1941, Not Rated)
* The Robe (1953, Not Rated)
* I Confess (1953, Not Rated)
* Ben-Hur (1959, no rating)
* Brother Sun, Sister Moon (1973, PG)
* The Hiding Place (1975, Not Rated)
* Saving Grace (1986, PG)
* Les Miserables (1935, Not Rated)
* Tender Mercies (1982, PG)
* Repentance (1987, PG)
* Cry the Beloved Country (1995, PG-13)
* Inherit the Wind (1960, Not Rated)
* The Brothers Karamazov (1958, Not Rated)
* Dead Man Walking (1995, R)
* Babette’s Feast (1988, G)
* The Gospel According to Matthew (1994, Not Rated)
* Les Miserables (1998, PG-13)
* The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003, PG-13)
* Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005, PG)
* Passion of the Christ (2004, R)
* End of the Spear (2006, PG-13).... Read this in full at

They met in college and fell in love. They talked about getting married, and he started looking for a ring. They dreamed about life together, a life of beauty and joy, raising babies and laughing with friends and growing old.

They did not imagine a car accident. They did not imagine his brain injury. They did not dream about the need for constant care and a wheelchair and fear that food might choke him. They did not plan for this.... Read this in full at

If I want transformation, I must let go of my regrets over what could have been and pursue what can be. But what I cannot have is the best of both worlds: the growth that has transformed my life as a result of the tragedy and the people whose death engendered that growth.

There is a bitter irony here that cannot be avoided, however much we grow through loss. The people whose death enabled me to change for the better are the very people with whom I would most like to share these changes. Their death has forced me to grow; I wish now that they could benefit from the growth that has resulted from their death.

Many people are destroyed by loss because, learning what they could have been but failed to be, they choose to wallow in guilt and regret, to become bitter in spirit, or to fall into despair. While nothing they can do will reverse the loss, it is not true that there is nothing they can do to change.

The difference between despair and hope, bitterness and forgiveness, hatred and love, and stagnation and vitality lies in the decisions we make about what to do in the face of regrets over an unchangeable and painful past. We cannot change the situation, but we can allow the situation to change us. We exacerbate our suffering needlessly when we allow one loss to lead to another. That causes gradual destruction of the soul.

It is natural, of course, for those who suffer catastrophic loss to feel destructive emotions like hatred, bitterness, despair, and cynicism. These emotions may threaten to dominate anyone who suffers tragedy and lives with regret. We may have to struggle against them for a long time, and that will not be easy. Few people who suffer loss are spared the temptation of taking revenge, wallowing in self-pity, or scoffing at life. But after a period of struggle, which sometimes leads to catharsis and release, it may become apparent to us that we are becoming prisoners to these emotions and captive to their power over our lives. At that point we must decide whether or not to allow these destructive emotions to conquer us.

This struggle will show us that emotions like anger or self-pity, however natural and legitimate, do not define reality. Our feelings do not determine what is real, though the feelings themselves are real. We cannot ignore these feelings, but neither should we indulge them. Instead, we should acknowledge them without treating them as if they were ultimate truth. The feeling self is not the center of reality. God is the center of reality.

To surrender to God, however contrary to our emotions, will lead to liberation from self and will open us to a world that is much bigger and grander than we are.”
- Jerry Sittser in A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows through Loss

If you have failings, ask God often whether it be His honour and pleasure to take them away from you; for without Him you can do nothing. If he takes them away, thank Him; but if He does not do that, you will bear it no more, however, as the defect of a sin, but as a great trial with which you are to gain merit and practice patience. You should be content, whether or not He accords you His gift.”
- Meister Eckhart (1260?-1327?), Works of Meister Eckhart, London: J. M. Watkins, 1924, p. 39

Israeli archaeologists have discovered a 2,700-year-old seal that bears the inscription "Bethlehem," the Israel Antiquities Authority announced May 23, in what experts believe to be the oldest artifact with the name of Jesus' traditional birthplace.

The tiny clay seal's existence and age provide vivid evidence that Bethlehem was not just the name of a fabled biblical town, but also a bustling place of trade linked to the nearby city of Jerusalem, archaeologists said.

Eli Shukron, the authority's director of excavations, said the find was significant because it is the first time the name "Bethlehem" appears outside of a biblical text from that period.... Read this in full at

The Book of Common Prayer, a work considered by many to be as influential as the King James Bible and the plays of William Shakespeare, turned 350 this May.

The Rev. Richard Hoyal, vicar of Christ Church in Bristol, England, told a British publication that even in an increasingly secular England the BCP holds an appeal.

"The people who come here to worship do so because they enjoy hearing this traditional form of service – there is a continuity and beauty to it that the more modern versions of Anglican service just don't have," said Hoyal to the Western daily Press.... Read this in full at

The gospel starts by teaching us that we, as creatures, are absolutely dependent on God, and that he, as Creator, has an absolute claim on us.  Only when we have learned this can we see what sin is, and only when we see what sin is can we understand the good news of salvation from sin.”
- J. I. Packer

The list of America's most popular baby names for 2011, released by the Social Security Administration, reveals that biblical names are in.

Among the top 10 names for baby boys, four are from the Bible: Jacob, Noah, Michael and Daniel. Matthew and Elijah came in at numbers 12 and 13, respectively. For girls, variations on biblical names are also popular, with Isabella (the Spanish version of Elizabeth), Ava (a variation of Eve) and Abigail (an Old Testament character from 1 Samuel 25) making the top 10.

According to Laura Wattenberg of, popular biblical names have shifted from the New Testament to the Old Testament. "The traditional biblical names were New Testament names -- John, James and Mary and Elizabeth," she said. "Today, the hot names are all names from the Old Testament precisely because they were neglected for so many generations." .... Read this in full at

by Michael DeSanctis
Just a decade ago, few observers of the Catholic architectural scene would have predicted a comeback of traditional-looking churches like those currently being constructed in parish communities across the United States. Until then, many architects and design professionals maintained that buildings as rich in historical detailing as those that served the pre-Vatican II church were beyond the means of most Catholic clients. More important, they thought that dressing new structures in period costume did not square theologically with the Second Vatican Council’s demand for authenticity in every aspect of liturgical prayer.

Not everyone subscribes to the council’s basics, of course. And not everyone sees the architectural implications in the same way. Some have concluded that overzealous interpretations of the aggiornamento heralded by the council, and a tendency to think that the new liturgy required new spatial accommodations, misled many parishes to assume that there was no room in the contemporary place of worship for artistic conventions from the past. But to renew or reinvent itself, the church did not need to erase all physical traces of its past.

In recent years, this view has taken physical form in church architecture. Not only has dissatisfaction with the status quo grown. But anticipation of changes to the texts and texture of parish liturgical prayer has also spawned a revival of traditional-looking churches to replace the ubiquitous, Modernist structures of the previous half-century. Perhaps the same impulse within the church that has caused such changes in ritual practice as the decanting of the blood of Christ from “cup” to “chalice”—both literally and in the revised translation of the Roman Missal—is also behind the return to traditional architecture.... Read this in full at

God Himself, who is the Author of virtue, shall there [in the city of God] be its reward; for, as there is nothing greater or better, He has promised Himself. What else was meant by His word through the prophet, "I will be your God, and ye shall be my people," than, I shall be their satisfaction, I shall be all that men honorably desire, - life, and health, and nourishment, and plenty, and glory, and honor, and peace, and all good things? This, too, is the right interpretation of the saying of the apostle, "That God may be all in all." He shall be the end of our desires who shall be seen without end, loved without cloy, praised without weariness.”
- St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), The City of God, v. II, Marcus Dods, ed., as vol. 2 of The Works of Aurelius Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, Edinbugh: T & T Clark, 1871, XXII.30, p. 541

Each of us should please our neighbors for their good in order to build them up.”
- Romans 15:2 (CEB)

To accept grace is to admit failure, a step we are hesitant to take.  We opt to impress God with how good we are rather than confessing how great he is.”
- Max Lucado

A summer festival that has helped launched the careers of many Christian artists, including Sixpence None the Richer, Jars of Clay, Newsboys and One Bad Pig, is calling it quits after 29 years due to the poor economy and financial difficulties. This year will be its last.

Cornerstone Festival, hosted by Jesus People, USA (JPUSA), has taken place in Illinois every year since 1984. One of the first festivals featured Amy Grant early in her career. The Christian festival has biblically-based seminars, an art show, kids programs, a skate park, and sports tournaments. But the main focus has been the music. Originally, Cornerstone Festival was held in Chicago but quickly outgrew the venue there. It has since been held in Bushnell, Ill., a rural location west of Peoria, Ill. The last festival will be July 2 to 7.... Read this in full at

by Erik Swenson
Most Christians aren't able to read the New Testament in Greek. But I assume most do read the Bible with the hope of actually understanding it. So what is the role of biblical scholarship for the average Christian trying to find God through the Scriptures?

The reality is we are vastly removed from the context of the Bible. It's nearly impossible to read anything with complete objectivity. Our assumptions, perspectives and experiences drip onto the pages and coat the words we read. It's vital to seek ways to move past ourselves as we read the Bible. If we don’t, we will likely misuse or simply miss the very truths we are trying to get at. We need to apply some degree of scholarship to our handling of Scripture.... Read this in full at

by Brian Nixon
I, like millions of other people - particularly here in New Mexico, had an amazing opportunity to see the Eclipse of 2012.

As it turned out, Albuquerque, New Mexico was in the direct path for observation of a total eclipse. We weren't disappointed. Literally thousands flocked the mountains, museums, and mesas to see the amazing natural event.

Throughout history an eclipse has been an event of astronomical fascination-and even fear. At times the Ancients interpreted eclipses as omens and signs.

Even the Bible gives record of events that describe eclipse-type occurrences, connecting it to looming danger or judgment (Amos 8:9).

Many scholars even connect the crucifixion of Jesus to an eclipse-type event.... Read this in full at

Show the world Christ - as he really is - through your actions and your words.

Is he completely delightful? Let all the world see and know that he is so - by the way you delight in him, in the intimacy of your relationship with him, through your passion for him, and through your readiness to part with anything else you might enjoy besides him. Proclaim his superiority to the world. Persuade them how much your beloved is better than any other beloved. Reveal his glorious perfection as you speak of him.

Proclaim him to others as he is in himself: perfectly beautiful. See that you "live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way" (Colossians 1:10). "Declare the praises" of Christ (1 Peter 2:9). He is glorious in himself, and he is sure to place his glory upon you. So be careful not to bring shame and dishonor to him. He has committed his honor to you; do not betray that trust.

Never be ashamed to be counted as a Christian.”
- John Flavel, AD 1630-1691

Deep in every true Christian, there is an awareness that we are on this planet for purposes greater than having a career, paying the bills, loving our families and fulfilling our role as upstanding citizens. Even going to church and worshiping God - important as these are - sometimes leave us feeling that something is missing. After all, we'll worship God for eternity in heaven; we don't have to be here to do that.

What is it that's absent in the lives of so many believers who are crying out for fulfillment? What on earth is God asking us to do?

God wants us to become contagious Christians - his agents, who will first catch his love and then urgently and infectiously offer it to all who are willing to consider it. This is his primary plan, the one Jesus modeled so powerfully, to spread God's grace and truth person to person until there's an epidemic of changed lives around the world.”
- Bill Hybels in Becoming a Contagious Christian

In keeping with HCJB Global's tradition of offering cutting-edge internships in a variety of exciting disciplines, this summer the organization is offering 40 young adults from around the world hands-on opportunities in media, medicine, engineering and community development in England, Ghana, Ecuador, sub-Saharan Africa and the United States.

The cross-cultural, missions-based internships for ages 18-26 are part of the ministry's commitment to teaching and equipping Christians worldwide with skills in health care, emerging media and engineering.... Read this in full at

Worldwide, 925 million people are hungry. Every day, as many as 11,000 children under age 5 die due to hunger-related causes. That’s one kid every 8 seconds.

World Vision’s “30 Hour Famine” event for youth groups teaches students about poverty and hunger. It gives students the chance to give up food for 30 hours and raise funds so that hungry kids can eat. Learn more at

by Benedict Rogers
Alex Aan, a 30-year-old civil servant, is the first atheist in Indonesia to be jailed for his belief, but his case is symptomatic of a wider increase in religious intolerance in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation. The previous Sunday, I joined a small church in Bekasi, a suburb of Jakarta, for a service, but found the street blocked by a noisy, angry mob and a few police.

The church, known as HKBP Filadelfia, was forced to close a few years ago, even though the local courts had given permission to open. The local mayor, under pressure from Islamists, has declared a “zero church” policy in his area. For the past two months, the congregation has been blocked from worshiping in the street outside their building, and the atmosphere has grown increasingly tense.

When I was there, I felt it could have erupted into violence at any moment. The radicals in control of the loudspeaker shouted “Christians, get out,” and “anyone not wearing a jilbab (headscarf), catch them, hunt them down.”

World leaders and commentators like to point to Indonesia as a model of tolerance and pluralism and an example of how Islam and democracy are not incompatible. To a certain extent they are right — Indonesia does have a great tradition of pluralism, a generally tolerant brand of Islam, and has made a remarkable transition from authoritarianism to democracy.

The majority of Indonesian Muslims remain moderate, and are appalled by rising intolerance. But three factors are undermining religious freedom: the silence and passivity of the majority, growing radicalization, and the weakness of the government at every level.... Read this in full at

Atheist Richard Dawkins says he supports the mission of England's Department of Education to make sure every public school has a copy of the 1611 translation of the King James Bible -- and even goes as far to say he would have donated to the cause if he'd had the opportunity.

"A native speaker of English who has never read a word of the King James Bible is verging on the barbarian," Dawkins write in a column in The Guardian. Though some have criticized the Department of Education's statement that the Bible's impact on history and culture makes it a worthwhile addition to any school library, Dawkins is backing the distribution plan -- albeit with an ulterior motive. "I have an ulterior motive for wishing to contribute to [education secretary Michael] Gove's scheme," he wrote. "People who do not know the Bible well have been gulled into thinking it is a good guide to morality. ... I have even heard the cynically misanthropic opinion that, without the Bible as a moral compass, people would have no restraint against murder, theft and mayhem. The surest way to disabuse yourself of this pernicious falsehood is to read the Bible itself."

The project -- in celebration of the translation's 400th anniversary -- was funded by charitable donations; all 24,000 Bibles should be distributed to the nation's state-funded schools by the end of May.... Read this in full at

by Michael Ireland
Bestselling Christian author, Linda Evans Shepherd, has been ministering to the suicidal since New Year’s Eve, 2003.

Last November 28th, at 10:35 a.m., Linda heard sirens screaming down her street. Later, on the local news, she was shocked to learn that a beautiful 22-year-old neighbor, who had just graduated with honors from University of Colorado Boulder, had purposefully ended her life by throwing herself in front of an 18-wheeler.
That this suicide happened three blocks from her home, only feet from her church, the very church which helped to sponsor her ministry’s efforts to reach the suicidal, was not lost on Shepherd.

Shepherd said: “I was heartbroken when our newspaper reported that Katy’s last online search was ‘how to kill yourself.’ How I wished she could have found our helps for hope, life, and faith, instead of those ghastly instructions on how to die.”

Shepherd began reaching out to her Christian-author friends, all members of her ministry’s Advanced Writers and Speakers Association ( Twenty authors agreed to write for the new blog, Read this in full at

By Dr. Philip G. Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan
Is the overuse of video games and pervasiveness of online porn causing the demise of guys?

Increasingly, researchers say yes, as young men become hooked on arousal, sacrificing their schoolwork and relationships in the pursuit of getting a tech-based buzz.

Every compulsive gambler, alcoholic or drug addict will tell you that they want increasingly more of a game or drink or drug in order to get the same quality of buzz.... Read this in full at

Doctors should no longer offer the PSA prostate cancer screening test to healthy men because they're more likely to be harmed by the blood draw — and the chain of medical interventions that often follows — than be helped, according to government advisory panel's final report.

Even after studying more than 250,000 men for more than a decade, researchers have never found the PSA to save lives, according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a panel of doctors that advises the government on cancer screenings and other ways to avoid disease.

Yet the PSA can cause harm.... Read this in full at

Also see “Experts explain why PSA test is not worth risk”

Faith is knowing that God is who He says He is, has what He says He has and will do what He says He will do and then putting ourselves in a position where our lives depend on it.”
- Graham Steele

You were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only don’t let this freedom be an opportunity to indulge your selfish impulses, but serve each other through love.”
- Galatians 5:13 (CEB)

Words: Charles Wesley, 1740
Music: Thomas Est, 1592

Come, Holy Ghost, our hearts inspire,
Let us Thine influence prove:
Source of the old prophetic fire,
Fountain of life and love.

Come, Holy Ghost, for moved by Thee
The prophets wrote and spoke;
Unlock the truth, Thyself the key,
Unseal the sacred book.

Expand Thy wings, celestial Dove,
Brood o’er our nature’s night;
On our disordered spirits move,
And let there now be light.

God, through Himself, we then shall know
If Thou within us shine,
And sound with all Thy saints below,
The depths of love divine.

>from CyberHymnal at

The business of prayer
by Joel J. Miller
It’s easy to delay prayer as we brace for the daily grind, and easier still to forget about it as we wade through the tumult of the day. But what if we thought of prayer as our first and most important job?

In his book The Ladder of Divine Ascent, John Climacus refers to prayer as the work of angels. Christians are invited to join in this labor as part of our walk with Christ.

I think there’s merit to linking words like work and labor to the subject of prayer. The word liturgy in fact comes from a Greek word denoting a public-works project.... Read this in full at


Use the following list as your daily prayer guide. Think of a brother or situation that applies and lift them up in prayer.

I am agreeing in prayer with you for God’s blessings to overtake you!

Marital harmony
Family unity
Children saved
Faithful pastor
Spirit-filled church
Real friendships
Relatives redeemed
Educational benefits
Recreational time
Fulfilling career
Favor with God and man
Be in God’s will

Better Jobs
Raises or bonuses
Sales & commissions
Business Growth
Estates & inheritances
Investment increase
Rebates & returns
Checks in the mail
Gifts & surprises
Money to be found
Bills decrease while blessings increase

"And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God" (Deut. 28:2).

[As you travel on business or vacation, let me know if you'd like us to add you to our prayer chain to pray for your safety and spiritual effectiveness. I'll add your name to the list for the time you'll be away.]

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I tried to contain myself once, but I escaped.
Frank Coleman, Editor

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CONNECTIONS is a periodic newsletter of announcements, news, recommendations, articles, and other information helpful to men in our spiritual growth. Thanks for welcoming CONNECTIONS into your in-box! 

The CONNECTIONS Team offers a variety of activities for men to interact with other men on our journey of faith in Christ together. Large group, small group, and one-to-one events encourage relationship building and spiritual strengthening that result in maximizing the potential we all have in Christ. 
Contact Min. Frank Coleman, 773-410-1483, if you'd like to participate in a men's discipleship program. 
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